Arrangement Submission (Part 2): "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus" from Tiffany Jefferson

Thanks to the many of you who have posted some great thoughts on the last post

This is a perfect arrangement to start with and learn from.  Thanks to Tiffany for sending it in and writing it out.  Let me remind you that you don’t have to write out your arrangement to get it posted here.  We can help more if you do, but if you can’t, just send it in anyway.

I am going to take this post to mention a few things about Tiffany’s arrangement. Feel free to chime in.  In fact, keep posting either on this post or the last one for a chance to win a free DVD instructional video.

Many of you mentioned things that I would also mention.  For example, several mentioned doubling and at least one mentioned color notes.  I was thrilled to see the color notes sprinkled throughout the arrangement.  I would encourage even more of them, because with thick chords (chords with color notes), you need to either be all in or don’t use them at all.  If you use them half of the time, the places where you don’t use them sound thin.  That occurs some in this arrangement.  And when you do use thick chords, you should avoid doubling as much as possible.

Note what happens in the first two bars for examples of this.

I like the fact that she adds an Eb to the first chord.  That being said, the Db in the right hand is unnecessary and hurts the sound a bit.  In general, it would be a very good exercise to go through this song and circle all the doubling that occurs in the right hand where the doubled note is not a melody note.  In those cases, try to move the doubled note to a color note.

In the second bar, Tiffany could have used a Ab rather than a Gb in the first chord.  That would have added complexity as well as removed a doubled note.

So, to recap, either use color notes liberally or not at all.  If you use them, work hard to avoid doubling.

I want to mention something that I find very exciting about this arrangement.  It is something I talk about a lot and it involves what she does in the left hand.  Here are a few bars that demonstrate what I mean.

Note that she is playing open intervals in the left hand that are not octaves (except for the first).  This is a big key to improving your sound.  Octaves have their place but for the most part, you should avoid them in both hands.  That is especially true in songs like this.  It is fine to play octaves occasionally for contrast as you see her do in the loud section.  Just be sparing. 

You could change that first octave in the left hand to a major 7th interval (Gb, F) and it would sound great in my opinion.  Once you start playing these intervals in your left hand, you will be amazed at how thin octaves sound.

Many people have commented on the use of “What A Friend” as a hook.  I like the idea because of the similar message.  But I do think it can be incorporated a bit more smoothly.  For example, I would pause at the end of the intro (change that chord to IV/V on beat 3) and then clearly start “No One.”  Right now, it feels like it runs together.  I would do the same thing on the interlude. 

Also, in bar 3, I would change the first chord to I/V and change the second melody note (should be Db instead of C).

I concur with what people have said about rubato and taking time with this piece.  That is a stylistic choice, but I think rubato suits this style very well.  But on the other hand, I know the psychological pressure of recording, and I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Tiffany is much more relaxed when she plays this without the recorder on. 

To me, this is a very good arrangement.  It is a great song choice and has a good shape and form.  The harmony is solid and it is technically interesting.  The hook pulls things together. 

So, good job Tiffany!